Pulling The Flag

Power Rankings – Week 9

Our hands have been tied, we’ve had to do our day jobs weigh us down and then there’s all this playing malarkey to contend with as well.

Thankfully, some of us were wise enough to book a days annual leave, to watch the England v Wales game. So we have time to fill until the inevitable happens… Alan Shearer criticizes the British brand of football and Thierry Henry makes our women turn all dizzy at the use of the phrase “I aime marquer” (google it).

Anyway, you guys don’t care about “soccer”, you play a far more interesting sport!

So who is in this long awaited 1-10?

1: London Rebels

Hold the phone, invoking memories as far back as, erm…. 2014, we have someone other than Cardiff or Birmingham at the very top of the leader board.

The Rebels, have been back to the awesome best this year, striking that good old fashion fear into the hearts of the rest of the league. Last weekend alone they scored 94 points and conceded just the 6 to the Solent Thrashers and shutting out the Chichester Sharks.

A tenth place finish at this years Big Bowl, is also not to be sniffed at, considering the opposition and a trip to Copenhagen this weekend, just shows the ambition of the club.

At 12-0 for the season so far, the Rebels are looking like a shoe in for the number one seed, with seemingly the rest of the South dropping games here and there. Can they stay there?

2 Sheffield Predators/Giants

Despite only having played the six games, the soon to be Sheffield Giants are looking like the class act of the MEC.

This time last year, Sheffield and Woodham seemed like the two best teams of the conference. What a difference a year makes! Woodham have now sadly left the league due to lack of numbers and the Predators/Giants have been adding to their ranks, sometimes being afforded the opportunity to field a “second string” line up for some recent games.

Imagine if you will, that if these second stringers can get up to the standard of the first team. This might just make them the power house of 2016!

3/4 Glasgow Hornets/Aberdeen Oilcats

Last time out we made a clear statement that our power rankings will be based on division winners occupying the top eight positions, with the last two spots taking up the last two. Since then, we’ve decided to do a u-turn on that plan and that is predominately based around the Aberdeen Oilcats and Glasgow Hornets being so damn good!

To add some commentary around the reasoning why we can’t split the Oilcats and Hornets in the rankings, the Aberdeen currently sit at 10-1 and share the head-to-head with the Hornets who are 7-1.

If you take into account that despite the fact the Hornets have played three games less than their rivals, they have scored only 39 points less and conceded 14 less already.

They don’t look likely to lose those thee games, so maybe you’d possible give the Hornets the edge?

5 Newcastle Blackhawks

The Newcastle Blackhawks have earned the right to be in this spot, there’s no doubt about that!

Their massive up-rise in form is down to their very impressive defense. A defense that has only allowed 18 points against them in 7 games.

Sure, they have possibly one of the weaker divisions, if you compare it to others around the league, but make no mistake, they are playing some great stuff.

The loss of Woodham in the league can only bolster their ambition of league winners and a head-to-head over the Sheffield Vipers see’s the Blackawks flying towards the playoffs.

Oh, wait. They have got the other Sheffield lot to play soon though…

6 Grangemouth Broncos 

The Broncos are storming the HNC South without much fuss at all.

7-1, with their only loss at the hands of the Hornets 34-14, see’s them with a three game advantage over the Edinburgh Outlaws, who they own the head-to-head over as well.

It may not be a complete stroll in the park as they have to face the Oilcats yet, but an anticipated no worse than two losses at the end of the season will look good going into the playoffs.

7 Northants Phantoms

Credit where credit is due, the Northants Phantoms deserve to be in this top 10!

They are 7-1-1, with their only blip coming against the unpredictable Merthyr Tydfil Thunderducks, losing 34-21.

This record includes wins over 2014 champions Cardiff Hurricanes, division rivals Northants Titans, Coventry Cougars, Leicester Eagles and a tie against last years 2015 champions, the Birmingham Lions.

A tie that, had Birmingham failed to convert a last play two point conversion, they would have deservedly won.

Whats changed? Consistency and a real emphasis on the word team.

Can they continue it for the rest of the season? They have to play the Lions, Titans, Cougars and Eagles again. But if they match their results, they will be division winners.

There’s a thought!

8 Victoria Park Panthers

What a great move it has turned out to be for the Panthers. It was always likely to be a favorable one, leaving behind the Rebels, Lions and Sharks. But did we quite anticipate that they would turn over the Showboats twice 48-14 & 52-15.

Those are some impressive numbers, especially when you consider the Showboats firepower.

Their only loss so far has been against the Reading Lions, losing a close one 27-20.

Given their late start and trip to Germany, we expect they will kick on further and a match up versus the London Rebels will be one to keep an eye out for.

9 Birmingham Lions

We know, we know, we’ve not gone completely insane! The Birmingham Lions are still one of the best, if not the best team in the country. But we have to base these things on position and form.

The Lions have however had a blip recently. Some key players not taking the field against the Phantoms and Lions have cost them their unblemished record of never losing or drawing.

The Titans Blue gave them their first ever loss and the Phantoms preceded to give them a scare before that loss, with a 26-26 tie.

Their choosing not to travel down to Plymouth and hand the Buccaneers and Centurions walkover wins, almost arrogantly shows how much they believe that they can beat anyone anywhere once the playoffs come around.

We’d expect business as usual the next time they take the field, so don’t get too hung up on their position in these rankings.

It will unlikely last long!

10 Reading Lions

We gave this a lot of thought and Reading ripped up the new format and ousted the Hurricanes for the top 10 spot.

We would have kept the Cardiff team in, as they occupy the division winning spot in the SWC South.

But their patchy form just couldn’t justify it.

However the Reading Lions can find themselves rather unfortunate, to be so low in the rankings. They have after all got a 9-2 record and their only losses have come to the hands of the London Rebels.

Playoff football looks to be sewn up, it’s just a matter of if London slip up and if the Lions can take advantage.

They do look to be one of the best likely division runners up in the league at this point!

If you’ve got any comments, complaints, misgivings or cross words about the rankings, please send them to us on Facebook, Twitter or by email at pullingtheflag@gmail.com



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